Children Exhibit Higher Moral Standards than some Adults
Over the past few months, Declan’s interest in horses has grown dramatically after being exposed to the methods used to slaughter horses throughout the United States.
“I thought it was mean and gross that they would do that stuff to them,” Declan told Foster’s.
After studying both sides of the slaughtering industry, reading information on the Internet that represented those opposed to the killing of such animals and those who use the horse meat in the packaging industry, Declan said he decided to spread the word.
“My mom asked me if I wanted to do a blog, and I said yes,” he said.
Declan’s blog, www.children4horses.blogspot.com, provides readers with links to various equine related websites, information about legislation related to the meat packaging industry, pictures and video clips.
Stacie Gregg, the boy’s mother, said his blog has been viewed by more than 2,000 readers in 16 different countries.
But the 9-year-old’s efforts to publicize the inhumane nature in which horses are being killed has exceeded blogging.
In mid-January, Declan testified for the cause in front of a packed house at the state capitol in Concord.
“I was a little nervous because I had never done anything like that before,” said Declan.
Gregg, an avid horse lover as well, said she was informed of a bill going through the Legislature that was geared toward meat packaging inspections. House Bill 1446 was proposed to be amended in order to include a sentence that excludes horse meat from inspection, processing and sales.
Declan testified before the members of the House Environment and Agriculture Committee, pleading with them to steer clear of any and all legislation that would allow horses to be harmed.
“Horses are not treated fairly,” said Declan during his testimony. “What did they do to you to be killed this way? Is freedom too much to ask?”
Declan went on to explain that when he watches video and looks at pictures where horses are slaughtered in cruel ways, he said he looks into their eyes and see the most hurt and scared eyes he has ever seen.
“I love horses and I hope this cruel way to kill horses stops for good, and I hope you do, too,” concluded the nine-year-old.
Gregg said her son’s testimony was well received by many who attended the jam-packed hearing on HB 1446.
“I was so proud of him for standing up for what he truly believes in,” she said. “This was something he really wanted to do.”
Again, Declan’s efforts to keep horses out of slaughter houses continued.
Gregg said she heard of a program called the Million Horse March through her involvement with the Equine Welfare Alliance. The campaign asks that children write letters to members of the U.S. Congress and Senate about what horses mean to them and why it is so important that they be protected.
“I was looking for ways to really get him involved in the process, and I thought this was a perfect fit,” said Gregg.
Declan has been working over the past two months to collect as many letters for the campaign as he can get his hands on. He has pleaded with readers through his blog to send him a letter or mail them to the campaign directly, and he has also met with area Girl Scout troops and 4-H clubs asking for their help as well.
Not long after her begun collecting letters for the Million Horse March, campaign representatives asked Declan if he would like to accompany them to Washington, D.C., to attend a meeting of the Congress and Senate where they will discuss a bill that would prohibit horse slaughter from happening in the United States. The bill, HR 2966, would also make it illegal to ship horses to other countries to be slaughtered.
“When I asked him if he wanted to go to D.C. to speak, he was literally jumping all around he was so excited,” said Gregg.
Declan told Foster’s that he wanted to visit the nation’s capital while members of Congress discussed this matter because he wanted to be another voice that could help save horses from such an inhumane fate.
On March 27, Declan will travel with his mother and representatives of the Million Horse March campaign to present the letters.
“Adults have even told me they are inspired by what he’s doing,” said Gregg. “He’s gotten a great response and he’s really doing well at raising awareness.”
One day when Declan was recently paying a visit to his favorite horse, Scarlet, at the N.H. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) in Stratham while his mother was volunteering in the stables, he was informed the SPCA has decided to help him with his efforts.
On March 18 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the SPCA on Portsmouth Avenue will host a letter-writing party where guests can take the time to fill out a letter for Declan to take with him to D.C.
Having already collected nearly two dozen letters, Declan said he is hoping the letter-writing party will bring him to his goal of collecting at least 115 letters by the time he goes to the capital.
To support Declan’s campaign, send letters and drawings opposing horse slaughter to PO Box 614, Greenland, NH 03840.
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